Islam – Up for Grabs

Islam – Up for Grabs. YaleGlobal. Ooi Kee Beng. June 26, 2014.

The world is on the watch for Islamic extremism, recent examples include the execution of some 1,700 Shia solders in Iraq and the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria. Two dynamics are underway that confound international relations, argues Ooi Kee Beng. First, a tendency among some Muslim nations to extend Islam rigidly to all aspects of governance and life invites a reciprocal tendency from non-Muslim observers to blame Islam for all social problems; second, Muslims hesitate to criticize their societies especially as criticism from non-Muslims runs rampant. Islam was once a liberating theology for the lower classes throughout Southeast Asia, but too often, the religion’s compassionate teachings are overshadowed. Ooi concludes, “In recent times, in line with global fashion, increasing numbers of individuals and groups have opportunistically come to use ‘Islam’ as an easy route to infamy – and power.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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